leaving Glasto……

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I had feared it might take us some time to escape the festival site. Today is not only the first day of our physical freedom (although I might argue we were never not free :P), but also the first of Joel’s freedom from nicotine! Hallelujah! I knew this might mean that he is unbearably grumpy, but I’m prepared for the worst.
Getting off-site was, as predicted, a serious challenge. Once we’d said our emotional goodbyes we sought out the nearest exit and made a bee-line for it. It was, of course, up an enormous hill.
After a few kms, it began to drizzle. We had been courteously offered the night in Hotel-Du-Vin, Poole; so we had to keep moving to make it there at a reasonable hour.
For England, we’d decided against a map and were relying solely on Joel’s iphone. After a short period on a busy main road I asked if there was maybe a smaller road we could take. Joel wasn’t really up for it, but conceded and we turned down a windy little lane. This quickly descended and then there was a sharp incline. Ouch! I pushed up, past an angry Joel, with all my might and silently wondered how we’d make it to Asia with such laden bikes. At the top we both collapsed into the wet verge and I must admit a few tears were shed. Joel’s nicotine deficiency was definitely showing.
We pushed on, and had a relatively incident-free ride down down to the coast. Mainly downhill, thank ye lordy. On our arrival into Poole, waiting for the bridge to lower and let us pass, we asked a kindly-looking chap for directions to HDV. He replied something along the lines of; “What the posh one?” and we explained how we’d been offered a night there because of the ride we’re undertaking. You’ll not believe this: he took a twenty pound note from his pocket and passed it to Joel, “Buy yourselves a beer, it’s pricey in there!” We graciously accepted and I suggested we might give it to our charity; Siddhartha Foundation UK, he said, “Do what ya like, but I’d rather you got a beer!” So an hour or so later; having dropped our muddy panniers off in the room, been stunned by the in-room roll top bath and two TVs (two!?) followed by a quick scrub; we did just that. Well, in actual fact I had a G&T “for the lady” and Joel had a much tastier men’s one; apparently ladies don’t like the taste of gin – it was barely detectable!
The waitress was delightful, and after we’d scoffed (perhaps not the best verb for such an establishment, but i’m reluctant to change it) down our fish mains, she produced a slate on which the artistic chef had drawn some snow capped mountains and a couple of bikes (we can’t quite make them out but i’m sure they’re Clem and Arthur), and written “Good Luck!” How kind of them. We were quite touched.

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